A squacco in South Africa with its wings spread.

Borrowed from dialectal Italian sguacco;[1] possibly ultimately imitative of the bird’s cry (compare squawk (American night heron)).



squacco (plural squaccos)

  1. A species of pond heron, Ardeola ralloides, which is small, and brown and white in colour; it is found in Asia, Northern Africa, and Southern Europe. [from mid 18th c.]
    Synonym: squacco heron
    • [1771 August, “Y.”, “The Cream-coloured Heron Described”, in Sylvanus Urban [pseudonym; Edward Cave], editor, The Gentleman’s Magazine, and Historical Chronicle, volume XLI, London: Printed for D[avid] Henry, [], OCLC 192374019, page 345, column 1:
      [A]n elegant ſpecies of Heron, common to Italy, to Switzerland, and perhaps other parts of Europe. It was firſt deſcribed by Aldrovand [Ulisse Aldrovandi], under the title of Sguacco, a Heron ſo called in the valley of Malalbergo: Mr. [Francis] Willughby calls it the Heron ſtyled Sguacco, we name it from its colours, the cream-coloured Heron.]
    • 1785, John Latham, “Genus LXV. Heron.”, in A General Synopsis of Birds, volume III, part 1st, London: Printed for Leigh & Sotheby, [], OCLC 1116970031, paragraph 39 (Squacco H[eron]), page 74:
      SQUACCO H[ERON]. [...] This is an elegant ſpecies, and inhabits the bays of the Caſpian Sea, and the ſlow ſtreams of the ſouthern Deſert. It is alſo met with in Italy, about Bologna, where it is called Sguacco, and is ſaid to be a bold and courageous bird.
    • 1826, Thomas Bewick, “The Squacco Heron”, in A History of British Birds, volume II (Containing the History and Description of Water Birds), 6th edition, Newcastle: Printed by Edw[ard] Walker, [], for T[homas] Bewick; sold by him, Longman and Co., [], OCLC 220930788, page 20:
      ["]It is also met with in Italy, about Bologna, where it is called Squacco, and is said to be a bold and courageous bird." [Quoting John Latham: see the 1785 quotation.] In the Globe London newspaper, of the 4th December, 1820, it is stated that, "there has been taken within a few miles of Yarmouth, a male bird, of that very rare species, Ardea comata, of [Peter Simon] Pallas, or the Squacco Heron, of Latham."
    • 1884 January, Abel Chapman, “IX.—Rough Notes on Spanish Ornithology.”, in Philip Lutley Sclater and Howard Saunders, editor, The Ibis, a Quarterly Journal of Ornithology, volume II (Fifth Series), number V, London: John Van Voorst, [], ISSN 1474-919X, OCLC 1112836013, page 91:
      The pretty little Squaccoes had then shifted their quarters to the reedy edges of the lagoons; and several nests appeared near ready for eggs in the "juncales," or reed-beds; but none of the genus appear to lay before June.
    • 1884 April, W[illiam] Eagle Clarke, “XIII.—Field-Notes from Slavonia and Hungary, with an Annotated List of the Birds Observed in Slavonia.”, in Philip Lutley Sclater and Howard Saunders, editor, The Ibis, a Quarterly Journal of Ornithology, volume II (Fifth Series), number VI, London: John Van Voorst, [], ISSN 1474-919X, OCLC 1112836013, page 134:
      The Night-Herons had their nests a few feet above the water, as had also the Squaccos and Little Egrets, though those of the latter were sometimes placed just above the surface.
    • 1893, Abel Chapman; Walter J. Buck, “The Bætican Wilderness. Spring-notes of Bird-life, Natural History, and Exploration in the Marisma. Part I.—April.”, in Wild Spain (España Agreste): Records of Sport with Rifle, Rod, and Gun, Natural History and Exploration, London: Gurney and Jackson, [] (successors to Mr. [John] Van Voorst), OCLC 15180313, page 81:
      These trees were occupied, some laden, with hundreds of stick-built nests, the abodes of the southern herons some of which we have already mentioned—Egrets, Squaccos, Buff-backs, Night-Herons, and the like: but nearly all this group nest very late (in June), and the colony was at this season tenantless.
    • 1896–1898, Henry O[gg] Forbes, quoting “Dr. Sharpe”, “The Squacco Heron”, in Henry O. Forbes; John Cordeaux; W[illiam] B[ernhardt] Tegetmeier, British Birds with Their Nests and Eggs: In Six Volumes, volume IV (Orders Herodiones and Odontoglossae; Order Anseres; Orders Columbae and Pterocletes), Hull, Yorkshire; London: Brumby & Clarke, Limited, [], OCLC 939895731, page 21:
      Although approaching the Little Bitterns in size and general appearance, the Squacco really belongs to the group of true Herons. They have twelve tail feathers, and the bill shows distinct serrations near the end of the upper mandibles.
    • 1989, Adrian Lewis; Derek Pomeroy, “Family Ardeidae: Bitterns, Herons, Egrets”, in A Bird Atlas of Kenya, Rotterdam; Brookfield, Vt.: A[ugust] A[imé] Balkema, →ISBN, paragraph 32 (Madagascar Squacco Heron), page 57, column 2:
      [T]his species forms part of a species-group with the Squacco Heron (31), and the two frequent broadly similar habitats except for the Madagascar's apparent preference for more open situations in its non-breeding range [...]. Their maps, however, are distinctly different, with the Squacco more widespread in the W and N, while the distribution of the present species reflects its penetration into Kenya as a migrant from the S.
    • 2011, Rafe Bates, “Bush Adventures”, in Lest I Forget: A Chequered Life, Kibworth Beauchamp, Leicestershire: Matador, →ISBN, part 2, page 157:
      The wildlife was particularly concentrated close to the river and indeed in it. The water itself contained catfish, various bream, minnows, stocked black bass, turtles, and was frequented by [...] various herons including squacco, black, night, grey, and bittern.


See alsoEdit


Further readingEdit